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#BuySingLit: I Want To Go Home by Wesley Leon Aroozoo

I Want to Go Home by Wesley Leon Aroozoo
Published by Math Paper Press

Disclaimer: I received a finished copy of this book c/o the author. Review and opinion is my own.

Goodreads

Summary: On the 11th of March, 2011, Yasuo Takamatsu lost his wife to the tsunami during the Great East Japan earthquake. Since that fateful day, he has been diving in the sea every week in search for her.

Compelled and inspired to share his story, I Want To Go Home is a journey from Singapore to Onagawa through the lens of the intrigued to meet him. Of unlikely friendships across borders and languages; to share a man’s loss, recovery and determination to reunite with his wife.

The novel’s feature film (also titled I Want To Go Home) has also been selected for the 2017 부산국제영화제 Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). This book also includes a Japanese translation by Miki Hawkinson.

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Prior to reading this book, I didn’t actually know about this story. But I’m glad that the author contacted me and let me know about his book. I do feel that this story is one that should be shared. There’s a lot of things that we don’t necessarily know about the aftermath of a Tsunami. How deeply it affects people and how they’re holding up when the news don’t talk about them anymore. The laws, the court trials, the search — these are the things that sometimes get overshadowed by other news. But for these people who are affected, it is their life. They live through it, day in and day out.

What I like about this book is that its not very difficult to get into. Its a non fiction that reads a little bit like a fiction book, which is great, especially for people who don’t really read non fiction or are scared of non fiction books being boring. The book is essentially the author’s week, spending time with a Japanese man who is still in the search for his wife’s body. He dives everyday, with the hopes of finding her and bringing her home.

I liked the story. I think its entertaining, it teaches us a lot of things about the Tsunami, about how they prepare the citizens for a Tsunami, the protocols etc. But there’s a lot of how the author himself relates or makes sense of the whole situation. I feel like this could be a hit or miss with people — I’m kind of 50/50 about it myself. I think yes, its a good way for me to relate with how he feels as an interviewer. He wants to tell the story of how he felt, the places he went, the things he observed in detail and share it with us. But sometimes, it becomes too detailed that it derails away from the main story he wants to share. It can get a bit much.

I went into this with no expectations, though the main expectation is to learn more about Mr Takamatsu. And while I learnt bits and pieces about his story, his life, his wife, I found myself more intrigued with the final few parts. I was keen on learning to know more about the lawsuit, the evacuation plan, I wanted to see more research about safety plans, alerts. I thought those portions were important and interesting.

The book essentially is a documentary piece, about a journey, but I felt like there’s still so much I could learn about Mr Takamatsu and his life and his efforts. I would say that its a good non fiction, but it was hard to connect to the story on a deeper level.

The book touches the surface of love and loss in the midst of a disaster. A good read, suitable for those who are keen to read more non fiction books.

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People Like Us by Dana Mele

35356380People Like Us by Dana Mele

Published 27 Feb 2018

Goodreads

Summary: Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

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Admittedly, when I first saw this on netgalley I was attracted to it because of its cover. It reminded me of Gossip Girl and intrigued me even more when I found out that it’s a campus mystery. I’m still high from One of Us Is Lying and I wanted more campus mysteries similar to it.

People Like Us has its own merits. We meet our protagonist, who turns out to be somewhat of an antagonist. Our main character, Kay, reminded me a lot of Tease, where both protagonist are antagonists. They are both bullies, self-aware and somewhat trying but not really. Kay is not supposed to be a likable character. She’s not supposed to have a moral compass. Kay is detestable, annoying and childish. From the start to the end, Kay controls her own destiny. She started investigating to save herself, to protect her past, and even to the vey last page, Kay Donovan only thinks about herself.

Sure, Kay grew as a character. She acknowledges her faults and owns up to it by apologizing to her victims. But the problem with Kay is that as she mends the bridges she’s burned, she breaks more bridges along the way. She’s neither genuinely good or inherently evil. I think that’s what attractive about Kay as a character. She’s very 3 dimensional, and feels very real. All of us are like this in some ways. We’re neither here nor there, neither good or bad, but we are all trying. And I think that’s what Kay is just trying to do. Try.

People Like Us kept me turning the pages. It started a little bit slow but got more exciting towards the middle. i enjoyed the idea of a revenge blog, though the first two missions seemed too easy and convenient. A filler mission, almost, just to rid us of some characters from the clique. The real exciting parts begin when we meet Nola, an outsider and the relationships that Kay tries to build with the people most unlikely.

People Like Us does leave a little bit unexplained. A lot of the why isn’t answered satisfactorily. I kind of get it, but it doesn’t explain why it had to be this way, why the killer backtracked in the end. It seems like the killer as a whole as another backstory that either I missed, or just wasn’t explained entirely. That’s the only reason why I knocked a star off People Like Us.

For fans of mysteries, campus mysteries, mean girls and One of Us Is Lying. Definitely one for the shelves, and one that’ll keep you talking for a while.

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

34189556The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Published 9th Jan 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Goodreads

Summary: A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

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WOW. What a ride!

I’m kind of iffy about “best thrillers” title, lest I be disappointed like Final Girls. But boy, oh boy, was I in for a show.

I asked for a thriller, and I definitely got myself a thriller. The best way to go into this book is to go into it blind. Don’t read too many of the reviews, don’t try and find out anything. Just go into it blindly.

I did exactly that, and what I got was an amazing thriller in return. Despite reading the summary that tells me not to make assumptions, I made my assumptions all throughout Part One and boy, was I completely wrong. I didn’t see any of it coming.

The book is divided into Part One and Part Two — part one mostly introduces the people involved and comes from different POVs, whereas part two, is the continuation of Part One told in only one POV. Having the different POVs really brings a different dynamic to the story because we get to see the same thing from different angles. We create different assumptions, there is greater suspense and when everything is revealed at the end of part one, you mind is completely blown.

Looking back on the story, there were a few hints about the twists and turns but it was so subtle that you could easily miss it. I think the way it was written is to make it seem as minute and as unimportant as possible so that you’d be surprised to the end.

I’m more impressed by Part One than Part Two, mostly because I expected more towards the end. The ending wasn’t as impactful as the ending of Part One. It was underwhelming and I wanted to see more happen to the characters. The ending does knock a few stars off the rating, but if I was honest, the majority of the book is too good for me to give it a 4 star rating.

More of a 4.5/5, but it leans more towards a 5 than a 4. Still, a perfectly good thriller about marriage that is unlike others and definitely one for the shelves.

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